This is not a simple yes or no answer. Many factors come into play. Whether you should provide a referral fee or referral rewards program is a decision you need to make with careful consideration. Here are some things to consider:

Receiving Referral Fees
Always consider the best interest of your client - if we are offered a referral fee from a professional referral partner, then we should never let it get in the way of doing what is best for the person to whom we are providing the referral. If I have a client who is asking me for the best copywriter in Denver, and my best copywriter doesn't give me a referral fee, I still need to refer to that company. Even if my other copywriter who is good, but not the best in Denver does give me referral fees, it would be wrong of me to provide the referral to the one who gives me the referral fee. Recently, I found a great video on this subject.

Giving Referral Fees
Do this the wrong way and you can look desperate. Do it the right way and it is simply a form of appreciation. Referral fees/bonuses can look like a simple fee such as a business saying they give a flat rate or percentage for any referral that turns into business. Perhaps it is called a "referral rewards program" where if a customer purchases a minimum amount, they will send $XX amount gift card. Referral fees can take on all different sizes and shapes.

But is it right or wrong? Here is what you should consider:

  • Your industry regulations - some industries that are regulated may have rules against this or guidelines that need to be followed.
  • Your competition - is this a standard practice in your industry whereby all your competition is offering referral fees? If so, know what your competition is offering, know what their weaknesses are and your strengths are so that you can build a professional referral relationship based on merit first and then the referral bonus. Research and mystery shop your competition to know this intelligence.
  • Your intentions - your intentions should always be doing what is best for the prospect. Educate your professional referral partners what a great lead is and what a not so great lead is. This way, when they provide you with a referral, it will be with whom you wish to work. You never want to look desperate for referrals, by being specific in the types of customers you want referrals, it will help mitigate the possibility of looking desperate. Stating that you have grown your business by 100% referrals says that you care about your reputation and does not look desperate.

At SHE Leads Group, we offer a two-hour seminar on Mastering Referral Marketing with our 
REVS – Referral Engagement Visibility System™ .
 If you are going to belong to a leads group, this training is a must to get the most out of your membership. But, be aware that just because you join a leads group, doesn't mean you are entitled to everyone's referral in the leads group. Just as you have to earn the know, like and trust factor from your customers, you also have to earn it with fellow leads members. The Master Referral Marketing training teaches you how to do just that. Contact SHE Leads Group to get on our wait list for this specialized training held in Denver.

Visit a SHE Leads Group chapter near you, where your business category is not already represented and get a sampling of the other kinds of training we do at our meeting that is included with a membership.

About the author

Beth Boen, Founder of SHE Leads Group

Beth Boen has more than 30 years of experience in sales, marketing and customer service. She is an award-winning marketer. She is also a professional trainer and customer experience consultant. Beth loves helping people build long-term, loyal relationships that produce quality connections in their business that lead to lifetime customers and endless referrals. Beth helps people do this through her thoughtful blogs and training curriculum. Members of SHE Leads Group have access to more in-depth business development training through presentations at meetings from Beth, her curriculum, and guest trainers. In addition to being the Founder of SHE Leads Group, Beth has had a training and consulting business, The Voice Customer Experience, that she started in 2005.

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